A dilemma:

Most Stuffing recipes have meat or nuts in them, and I don’t eat nuts, and there’s already going to be turkey on the table, or you have a vegetarian present, so finding a stuffing recipe that suits everyone’s taste buds is quite difficult. One thing you can do if you find a recipe you like that has one ingredient you don’t like, is just cut out that ingredient! I do it all the time. I also substitute a lot, for example I don’t eat pork, but sometimes I really like a recipe that calls for pork, so I’ll just use chicken or beef instead.
Last year I believe we made some kind of artichoke stuffing that, if I recall, was absolutely divine, but my wonderful boyfriend doesn’t like artichokes, so we couldn’t repeat that (I’m working on him, I think he’ll come around soon).
I hadn’t recalled us ever making a cornbread stuffing before, and so when I came across this recipe on foodnetwork.com I decided it would be perfect. In the process of finding recipes I found out that my grandmother almost always made a cornbread stuffing for Thanksgiving, and we like to have some kind of “tribute” to her each year, so this was the dish. I think she would have loved it.
This stuffing can begin to be made one day in advance, it is easy to reheat in the oven right before the meal, and I’ll give you a couple tips about that.
Caramelized Onion and Cornbread Stuffing
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Onions, Sliced
2 loaves cornbread (we made ours from two Trader Joe’s Brand boxes which called for 1 egg, 1/2 cup oil and 3/4 cup milk each)
Handful of Fresh Sage Leaves, Chopped (Do not chop until you are ready to use)
1 Egg
1/4 Cup Heavy Cream
1/4 Cup Chicken Stock (or Vegetable Stock)
Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
The cornbread mix from Trader Joe’s came out extremely sweet, so if you don’t want a sweet cornbread, you may want to try another brand. This mix also came with dehydrated corn in it, so you can either pick them out, leave them in, or get another kind. We left them in, and they added a nice texture to the stuffing, they weren’t abundant, so it was nice. Make your cornbread the day before thanksgiving, and let it sit out overnight with foil covering it until the next morning. The mix that we had took a lot longer to cook through than the box said, it could have just been our oven, but keep a watchful eye on your cornbread, you don’t want it to burn!
I decided to use olive oil instead of butter because it’s slightly healthier and it adds a better flavor to the stuffing than butter would have.
I caramelized my onions this way:
Heat up your pan on a medium heat, with no oil yet! and put in your sliced onions, let them “sweat” a little and then if they start to burn or change color, then you add the oil. Contrary to Tyler’s recipe, it does not take 10 minutes to caramelize onions. It takes longer if you want more flavor. When they become translucent and start to appear “caramelized” you can add in salt and pepper for flavor, and stir them well. Then add your sage in the last minutes of caramelizing your onions, and mix together to let the flavors meld.
In the meantime, break up your cornbread loaves (or muffins) into a large bowl, and when the onions are done, add them to the cornbread. You can also add salt and pepper to the cornbread if you wish, but I feel it’s better to let people add more at the table if they want it salty or peppery. You will also need to whisk together the egg, cream and stock and pour it over the cornbread and onions.
Use your hands to mix everything together, it is easier to control than a spoon (because of the density of the ingredients), and it’s also fun! Get your kids involved in this step.
Once it’s all mixed together, spoon the mixture into a well-greased baking dish, or you can cook it in the cavity of the turkey if you prefer.
Bake at 375º for about 30 minutes, or until the top turns golden-brown.
To reheat, pour a little bit of chicken or vegetable stock over the baked mixture, just so it doesn’t dry out, then put in a 300º oven until you’re ready to serve it.
Love and Happy Spatulas,